Insights

Unlocking the hidden value in public water utilities

There was an interesting court ruling in Germany last month. The town of Wetzlar in Hessen was found guilty of overcharging for water by a margin of 30% and ordered to cut the amount it charged residents for their water service. It is an unusual event, because in Germany water services are generally provided by municipalities and it is usually accepted that the...

The key to Japan’s global ambitions lies within

The Japanese government is putting serious effort behind promoting its water industry to the international market. I know because I have spent this week in Tokyo at a conference organized by Japan’s export development institute, NEDO. The event was packed out with nearly 1,000 attendees who wanted to be part of this new push into international markets.

It is a big...

Believing in free water and Father Christmas

There seems to be a widespread belief that water – like oil – is running out, and that this is the cause of the global water crisis. Of course it is wrong – water is endlessly renewable, and we currently use only a tiny fraction of what is available, but it does beg the question, what is this global water crisis that people seem to talk about?

I have...

Algeria’s lessons from ACWA Power

Our Maghreb editor, Emilie Filou, who was in Algeria last week, came back with a disturbing description of the economic nationalism which seems to be taking a grip of the country (see GWI’s forthcoming February issue). In recent years, Algeria has been one of the strongest growth markets in the global water industry, with its massive desalination programme and the...

Desalters discover the meaning of competition

Mostly we talk about market consolidation, but over the past decade, the reverse has been happening in the desalination industry. Growth has sucked more and more players into the industry, to the extent that the market leaders have actually been losing market share. It is such an unusual phenomenon that I am not sure there is a word for it. I call it market...

How can we meet oil’s growing demand for water?

Energy is becoming a thirsty commodity. Before the world’s fossil fuels are finally exhausted, it is likely that their extraction will require an unimaginable amount of water.

There are two main factors driving this growth. One is that as old fields reach the end of their productive life, it becomes necessary to use water or steam to chase out the last traces of...